Planet Iron Blogger SF

December 05, 2022

Doctor Popular

The SquirrelWarz soundtrack is here!

I’ve just released a new album on Bandcamp, just in time for #BandcampFriday. It’s the soundtrack to SquirrelWarz and you should give it a listen while reading this post:

SquirrelWarz (original soundtrack) by Doctor Popular

SquirrelWarz is an iOS game I worked on for Tribal Games and was released in 2017. I was the lead game designer and audio artist, but I helped with some of the art too.

The soundtrack is a fun mix of toy instruments, like melodicas and mouth harps, with some Casio drums and chiptune basslines. Basically a mix of bedroom acoustic instruments with lofi electronics.

The songs are energetic and fun. I’m really proud of them and I’m glad they are finally available in a finished album. It took me long enough, huh.

Huge shoutout to Mike Hales who collaborated with me on the album art and did a great job on the SquirrelWarz art. I love that stuff.

Enjoy the album and have a happy Bandcamp Friday!

The post <span class='p-name'>The SquirrelWarz soundtrack is here!</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 05, 2022 04:07 PM

Certainly Strange

A Villain

Still trying to work in this style, we’ll see

by Steen at December 05, 2022 08:08 AM

Doctor Popular

Redesigning DocPop.org

I’ve been running this WordPress blog for about 15 years and have gone through 4 major versions of DocPop.org site so far. I’ve documented those previous versions of the site and will share them in another post, but for now I wanted to brag about my hot new theme.

My first Block Theme

Block themes were first introduced to WordPress in WP 5.9. Since my day job for TorqueMag.io involves covering the newest trends in WordPress, I thought I’d learn how to use the new Site Editor and block themes.

A screenshot of the front page of DocPop.org as seen on a desktop.A screenshot of docpop.org

What better theme to learn than Twenty Twenty Three, WordPress’s big new theme. One of the cool things about the new block based themes is the ability for theme designers to add “Style Variations” to choose from. These are like mini-themes within a theme. I decided to go with the “Whisper” variation, which was designed by my co-worker, Brian Gardner.

A screenshot of the WordPress dashboard. It is showing the options for editing the Twenty Twenty Three theme and shows the various Style Variations.Style Variations within the Twenty Twenty Three theme

Although I started with Whisper, I’ve made several customizations to make the site standout. My goal was to have a minimal and quick loading site, with a big focus on the About page. Since social media is becoming more and more decentralized, I’m using my About page as an easy way to find my different hubs across the web. Sort of like my own Linktree page.

An interview with the theme developer

I mentioned earlier that I cover WordPress news professionally and one of my co-workers designed the Style Variation that I’m using, so I decided to ask Brian Gardner to join me on this week’s Torque Social Hour so I could ask him questions and get his advice. After years of using the old WordPress Customizer, I’m still not sure how to use the Site Editor, so this will be a fun way to learn how these tools work. You can watch my livestream with Brian Gardner this Wednesday, December 7th, at 3pm PST here.

Share your feedback

I’m happy with the re-design, but I know it could be better. So if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them! I’ll ask them, or any other Site Editor related questions, during this week’s livestream.

Here are some of the questions I have already:

  • Can I change/remove the white border along the edges of the theme?
  • Paragraphs seem to cramp together. How can I alter paragraph breaks?
  • How can I improve the About page?
  • Can I make the Social Icons block split into two columns? (as seen on the About page)
  • Can my site be improved on mobile?
    • When viewing on mobile, can I remove sections from the header and footer like the blog title and RSS symbol?
    • When viewed on mobile, the hamburger icon only has one item listed. Can I improve that somehow so it just show “About” in the header without the hamburger menu?
  • How can my Posts layout be improved?
    • On mobile, the Post titles seem really large. Can I make them more responsive?
    • Also on mobile, some images go wider than the rest of the post does. So images appear to run off the page. (this mostly just seems to be an issue with flickr embeds)
  • Should I change my fonts?
  • The text under images looks like the same as paragraph. Can I make it look different (ie italic and smaller by default)

The post <span class='p-name'>Redesigning DocPop.org</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 05, 2022 05:13 AM

Claire Kao

Criterion haul

It's been awhile since I took advantage of a Criterion 50% off sale, but a couple things have happened in recent months/years that made me begin buying physical media again: 
  • HBO Max/Warner Bros. removed/didn't release content; I realized we take streaming content for granted as always being available to us, but it's under threat more than we're aware. 
  • A new org. was established in 2022 to record "Missing Movies". Their manifesto: "Missing Movies empowers filmmakers, distributors, archivists, and others to locate lost materials, clear rights, and advocate for policies and laws to make the full range of our cinema history available to all." I realized my own little way to participate in this effort is to support a distributor like Criterion, and keep up my own physical collection.
  • Recent layoffs at Criterion. Another reason to support Criterion is to make sure they continue in their mission.

My criteria for my Criterions: 
  1. I’ve seen it before, preferably in theater: a TV or computer screen isn't the place to come in contact with something for the first time
  2. hard to find: currently not on streaming services or available for rent online
  3. hard to find (2): I don’t have a lot of faith it will be shown in local repertory theatres anytime soon. Some movies get shown over and over again in NYC theatres (Kurosawa, Lynch, Wenders, etc.), others not.

My haul, in alphabetical order:

1. Army of Shadows (1969)

I know liking movies is not winner-takes-all and that other good movies can exist. But this movie made me wonder how anyone can watch any other movie about war, espionage, resistance, or WWII when this perfect film exists. I'd been meaning to buy this movie for a long time, but it was always out of print before.

2. Dekalog (1988)

From the master of a certain type of serialized cinema, this series of 10 hour-length films (originally made for TV) is loosely inspired by the ten commandments. The films stand up to the loftiness of the project, and encompass so much about the human experience.

3. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Outrageously funny, outrageously still-too-relevant.

4. Eight Hours Don't Make a Day (1972)

We see so many defanged, half-hearted, nihilistic takedowns of capitalism/social inequality in movies and TV these days (White Lotus, Triangle of Sadness, etc.). Don't get me wrong, I agree: CAPITALISM BAD. But what we are seeing so much of today offers little else except a shrug. However, this series made for TV is a rare hopeful, convivial depiction of socialist utopia in one intimate example, and how it might be borne from our current economic system. 

5. The Lady Eve (1941)

They truly don't make movies like this anymore. What a funny little weird, slapstick, mischievous, special movie this is. 

6. Naked City (1948)

This movie was the template for so much that came after it. For anyone who loves New York City, it's a must. It's lingered in my imagination for around 10 years, and I saw it again this year, and it still had a kick. Another movie that I'd always been meaning to buy, but was previously out of print.

7. Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom (1976)

Yes, this is an extremely disturbing, troubling, upsetting movie. It also was made by a complete genius who keenly observed and understood the fault lines of power and abuse in a fascist society, and used the medium to depict what he knew about the world. A part of me wants to revisit this movie because it feels significant and pertinent to the return and rise of fascism around the world, another part of me has no idea when I'll have the stability of mind and spirit to watch it again...

8. To Sleep with Anger (1990)

This movie is such a work of magic, both literally in its magical realism and in how it slowly, unnoticeably ratchets up the tension until the boiling point finale. Watching this movie is like experiencing the fable of the boiling frog.

9. Until the End of the World (1991)

a 287-minute epic masterpiece: I can't say it is the most coherent movie, but I'm certain it is the film with the widest array of intriguing sights and sounds and ideas. I absolutely loved it, and am certain I will continue to. When I got to meet Wim Wenders extremely briefly, he mentioned I might like this movie because the protagonist shares my name (Claire, probably after Claire Denis) ❤

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at December 05, 2022 04:57 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Just me, my horse, and the wide open cyberspaces

December 05, 2022 01:08 AM

December 04, 2022

I Like Turtles

Cassius

/2022/12/04/cassius.html

December 04, 2022 08:00 AM

December 02, 2022

Doctor Popular

Glitch Houndstoof in the wild

I went to a baby shower in Dolores Park and bumped into a friend who was wearing one of my old Glitch Houndstoof shirts. I designed these shirts for Betabrand back in 2016, 4 years before my friend and I met, so they didn’t realize that the shirt they were wearing was one of my old designs.

This is one of things I miss the most about working with crafts and clothes. There’s nothing better than seeing someone wearing one your designs. I remember grabbing coffee at a Starbucks in the New York LaGuardia Airport when I saw another person in line was using one of my denim coffee cozies. They said their friend bought it for them many years ago as a gift and they use it everyday. It was incredible to see that in the wild.

The post <span class='p-name'>Glitch Houndstoof in the wild</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 06:14 AM

October Goals

Autumn is here and it feels like the year is almost over. I have a lot of exciting projects in the works and I thought I’d try documenting them here. This isn’t intended to be a full list for the rest of the year, just my list of goals for the month of October.

Music:

I made an iOS game called SquirrelWarz for Tribal Games back in 2017. It was a great experience workin g with some of my most talented friends to make a game I was really proud of. It didn’t make us rich, but I was still very fortunate to be a part of it. I was the lead game developer and audio guy on the team, but I also helped with some of the art and other aspects of the game.

The SquirrelWarz soundtrack is some of my favorite music I’ve ever worked on. I wanted it to feel like it was made by a group of small little mammals, so I tried to use cute sounding instruments like melodicas, mouth harps, and toy drums. I created 8 full tracks for the game, but never got around to releasing them until now.

After a long wait, the SquirrelWarz soundtrack will be available this Friday on DocPop.Bandcamp.com at a great price. It also happens to be #BandcampFriday, so it’s a great time to pick up a new album you’ll love.

Card Games

My first big game, Knifetank: The Shüffling, was released in 2020, and sold out quickly. I’ve been meaning to print another run ever since then, but just couldn’t make the time. I still get plenty of emails about the game so I’ve decided to do another crowdfunding campaign later this month to fund it.

I won’t be using Kickstarter this time around though, so I’m trying to decide between GameFound and Backerkit.

I’ve also been asked to demo the game at Big Bad Con later this month. I’ll be showing Knifetank in the Small Press Expo room on Saturday October 29th.

Yo-Yo

I have a bunch of prototypes and new yo-yos on order, but due to supply chain issues, I don’t have much of an idea of when they’ll arrive. I do have a few things that are more under my control though, such as running yo-yo meetups.

I run an online yo-yo club each month for my Patreon backers that is called the YoIP! (yo-yo over internet protocol). That happens on the second Saturday of each month.

I’m also hoping to run a yo-yo meetup in San Francisco the following Saturday in Golden Gate Park. If I do end up confirming that, I’ll probably share it on The Yo-Yo List, a new website for organizing yo-yo meetups. So keep your eye out there.

Comics and Art

Speaking of local meetups, I’m hoping to bring the San Francisco Cartoonist Conspiracy back to life with monthly meetups in the Mission. I have an old email list for the SFCC here, which might be a good way to keep track of those events.

The SF Cartoonist Conspiracy is a club I ran for many years. We’d meet in a coffee shop and work on jam comics or exquisite corpse style drawing games.

WordPress

I’ve been really busy working on a bunch of WordPress related projects lately. Last month I went to WordCamp US and posted a ton of videos for TorqueMag.io about the event.

I’ve been running the Torque Social Hour for a few years, that is a weekly livestream about WordPress news and events. I’ve also started running the Press This podcast for WP Engine. Good times!

As part of my journey I’m trying to get better at building WordPress websites, so I’m currently working on Andorsand.com. This site is live now, but my hope is to have it finished by the end of October. Part of this site will involve creating a webfont that includes the andorsand glyph, so I can have that appear on the page like any other punctuation mark.

The post <span class='p-name'>October Goals</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 04:23 AM

More spooky glitch photos

I’ve been seeing lots of great Halloween decorations in our neighborhood lately, so I decided to take my circuit bent digital camera on a walk and see what I could capture.

glitch ghost pink skelybro four ghosts no escape flowers and skulls one eye open
Here are some spooky glitch photos I shot on Bernal Hill last year

The post <span class='p-name'>More spooky glitch photos</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 04:23 AM

Creating Generative AI Art Within WordPress

Imajinn is a cleverly named WordPress plugin that allows you to easily generate AI-art from within your WordPress post editor. It’s similar in style to Midjourney, Dall-E 2, and other text-to-image visual synthesizers, but you can do it all in a blog post… for example:

I recently had a chance to interview Aaron and Josh, the co-founders of Infinite Uploads and creators of Imajinn, about how a tool like this could be used for WordPress sites and a preview of upcoming features:

That video was shot as part of my weekly Torque Social Hour livestream for TorqueMag.io. I feel so lucky that my day job allows me to geek out about art and WordPress!

After the show, Aaron hooked me up with a ton of AI-versions of Doctor Popular. These images were all created in Imajinn by feeding it screenshots from my youtube videos.

The post <span class='p-name'>Creating Generative AI Art Within WordPress</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 04:23 AM

The Mini-Panzer: The World’s Smallest Yo-Yo

The Mini-Panzer is the smallest unresponsive yo-yo in history. It’s machined in brass, but available with gold or silver plating. It is .7″ tall, weighs 21.5 grams, and has the smallest bearing you’ve ever seen.

This video isn’t sponsored content, I just thought it was a cool yo-yo. I bought mine from YoYoExpert, but I think Yo-Yo Store Rewind has some too. Available on some sites here:

It’s worth noting that B!ST made an EVEN SMALLER yo-yo back in 2012, but his appears to be responsive. I don’t think it ever made it to the market either, but it looks amazing.

Parts of the audio in this video came from a Hainbach soundpack.

The post <span class='p-name'>The Mini-Panzer: The World’s Smallest Yo-Yo</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 04:23 AM

How to disable notification sounds in Mastodon

I freaking love Mastodon, but I hate the annoying beeps that constantly play when viewing Mastodon on a web browser. If you’d like to turn off all those sounds, you can click on the “Notifications” button on the right side, then click on the little settings icon near the top of the screen. From here, you can scroll down and disable all the “Play sound” options. I think you need to click the checkmark near the top of the screen. If you are still hearing the sounds, it’s probably because Mastodon is still open in another tab. If so, quit the browser, and then it should be fixed next time you are on Mastodon.

The post <span class='p-name'>How to disable notification sounds in Mastodon</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 04:23 AM

A weekend with Kid Koala

It was a beautiful weekend in San Francisco. The weather was amazing and I had a lot of fun things to do. First on that list was the “Music To Draw To” event at Isotope Comics. This was an open meetup for artists to come and draw will listening to a two-hour long DJ set by Kid Koala.

I drew a rat

And then Mike, Steen, and myself headed to Biergarten for beers in a garden. Afterwards I came home and worked on a site redesign and a new Chrome Extension called “Butter”.

The next day I headed back to Hayes Valley to grab brunch with Kid Koala and a bunch of his Patreon sponsors at Doppio Zero. The food was great and I met a lot of great folks.

Afterwards I checked out some of the great art in Hayes Valley. I really dug this Sam Flores mural on Linden Street.

A mural on Linden Street

And this new art installation in the park. It’s called Cathenge.

six 9-foot tall cats in a circle, like stonehenge.

The post <span class='p-name'>A weekend with Kid Koala</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 04:23 AM

#Bandcamp Wrapped 2022

I’m not a fan of Spotify, but I do get jealous of those cool little Spotify Wrapped videos people post each year. I prefer buying my music from Bandcamp, where artists can actually get paid for their work. Bandcamp doesn’t track how often I listen to albums, but I was able to dive into my iTunes to find out which music I listened to the most this year.

Here are my most played albums from 2022 (excluding my own albums):


My most played song of 2022 was “Ambrosius” by Gnome. This whole album is full of heavy riffs and catchy melodies. I can’t get enough of it. Perfect for Melvins fans.

My most played album of the 2022 is “God’s Country” by Chat Pile. I hadn’t heard of Gnome or Chat Pile before this year, now they seem to be all I listen to. This album has a great flow. Heavy sludge riffs mixed with punk. Favorite track is “Why” Perfect for fans of Jesus Lizard.


I first heard of Emily Hopkins through her reviews of effect pedals, like this one, where she runs her pedal harp through HEAVY distortion.

With each pedal review, she puts out a mini-album. I think “Airtrash” might be my favorite.

The releases are really short, but “EmilyHarpist Mixtape” is great if you are looking for a longer release to chill out to.


Benjamin Mørk mics his piano in intersting ways, often picking up the squeaky mechanical sounds that aren’t intended to be recorded, then combining those sounds with electronics. He calls this “mechanical piano” and I can’t get enough of it. His music is simultaneously big and small, acoustic and electronic, epic and simple. Here he is talking about his unique style.

The post <span class='p-name'>#Bandcamp Wrapped 2022</span> appeared first on Doc Pop's Blog.

by doc at December 02, 2022 03:35 AM

November 28, 2022

Claire Kao

tks

What I’m grateful for:

  • thinking & feeling people
The thinker-feelers that express things the most profoundly for me are the moviemaking philosophers 🎥

  • chosen family
A very stylish Taiwanese kid gang from Growing Up (1983)

  • family

  • Long, winding conversations, over food 
Over hot pot, most preferably

  • 55-70 degree days and sunshine
But perhaps, more importantly, temperate days in the context of seasons. Unchanging weather feels like purgatory

  • clean air, water, food
Unclear how much longer we will have a clean world, or even if we currently do, but I’m grateful nonetheless 

  • Kneipp Herbal Bath Oil
At approximately $1.40/bath, this is the best ratio of cost-to-satisfaction for a wellness product 

  • public movie theaters, large and small
I love my indie repertory cinemas, but I also think there’s a place for the AMCs and Regals of the world

  • physical bookstores, large and small
    • fun fact: Shannon DeVito, who is quoted in that NYT article as the director of Books at B&N, once gifted me the entire Neapolitan Novels set. We've since lost touch, but it was the most wonderful gift that I am still so thankful for.
Nicolas Party @ Rizzoli Bookstore, interviewed by my dear friend Simon 💕

  • H Mart: I can now enter and exit with my week's worth of groceries in 6 minutes flat.
    • Also grateful for bok choy, specifically 
Though this is a photo of Napa cabbage

  • farmers' market apples
Or hand-picked apples, if we can swing it!

  • public transportation
🖕 car culture, destroyer of worlds 

  • Z's village: Andrei, Chester/Andrew
It takes a village to calm a relentless spirit 

  • Peter taking the morning shift
This used to be my job, but we realized it was ruining my days to be irritated with our puppy first thing in the morning. I took over another dreaded chore (laundry), we’re all much happier! It’s the little things!! 

  • Peter
He's not only my sweet syrup pie, but also my best friend, my pal, he's my homeboy, my rotten soldier, my sweet cheese, my good time boy

—————————

IMG_7564.PNG
https://twitter.com/dannyderaney/status/1595855207589478400?s=46&t=qKK1RSxdF0sc3cbS2JldLA

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 28, 2022 05:14 AM

November 27, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Marys Peak, the highest point in the Oregon coastal...



















Marys Peak, the highest point in the Oregon coastal range.

Unmaintained in the wintertime so access is a bit tricky, but hiking from fall into winter with a reward of spectacular views at the top is unrivaled.

November 27, 2022 07:43 PM

November 24, 2022

I Like Turtles

Self breakfast

/2022/11/24/self-breakfast.html

November 24, 2022 08:00 AM

November 21, 2022

Claire Kao

the silliest, but also very real, phobia

The Polish film poster for E.T.

A lot of things scare me, but the image/thing that has dominated my fearscape the most: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. While not so common in an anecdotal or everyday way, you can find some recounting of the fear online. I relate intensely to what my fellow E.T.-phobics describe:

My phobia is generally not believed, but if you ever got to see it in action, there were obvious, completely uncontrollable, physiological responses that I would have to seeing an image of E.T.

Separately, I've been working on my panic and fear responses in therapy, and have been undergoing EMDR. To my surprise, in recent weeks, I've learnt and felt how something that once induced a panic reaction inside of me could be reprocessed and experienced differently, even neutrally.

So, this weekend, I watched E.T. for the first time in a very long time; cuddled up with Peter, the puppy, a full bowl of popcorn, all the lights on—and, though the beginning triggered all of the psychotic fear responses it always does, I pushed through it, and it went really, really well (★‿★)

The drunk scene was really good for challenging my fear. Watching E.T. stumble around drunk made me realize that ET has in fact been living in our home: 

E.T. with fur, no?

After the movie came to its heartwarming conclusion, we also put on Heartlight by Neil Diamond, which matches the movie in its warmth, but without the images and movie magic that creeped me out in the first place. (Fun fact: Diamond had to pay Universal $25k for copyright infringement when he released this song.)

And something that's been floating around the internet recently was the E.T. 40th reunion that was filmed for Drew Barrymore's talk show. I really love the vignette about Steven Spielberg hiring two people to keep E.T. alive at all times on set, so that Barrymore could continue talking and interacting with E.T. whether or not they were filming. Realizing the great comfort, love, and friendship a child actually felt for him helped me adjust how I see the creepy alien glow-goblin.

I do wonder why my phobia became so pronounced. And it occurs to me that I was made to go on the E.T. ride whenever my family went to Universal Studios (context: I grew up in Los Angeles, so this was ~yearly). My phobia was firmly fixed by the time I first went on the ride, so I experienced the line and the ride like a harrowing nightmare over and over again, and was very glad when it was eventually replaced by The Mummy. I wonder if the continual exposure to something that I was very not down with exacerbated things. Here's a recording of the ride someone made in 2000.
image.png
I also still remember this smell.

So, IDK, I guess this is how you reprogram a phobia. Face those fears, but face them whenever you feel ready and on your terms 💪👽💪👽💪👽💪👽


by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 21, 2022 04:07 PM

November 19, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Diāng-biĕng-gù, 锅边糊

This is one of my absolute favorite Sunday morning meals — exactly what comfort food tastes like if you grew up in a Fuzhou household. I have yet to see it offered in any Chinese restaurant I’ve been to in the US. There isn’t even an English translation for it. The core of the recipe involves pouring rice flour batter around a very hot wok. The batter instantly cooks into a soft noodle that you fold into a rich broth. You can make it with either a seafood base, meat base, or both! For more details about its history, you can check out the Wikipedia article.


Ingredients:

  • 16 oz rice flour

  • 1 cup water

  • shredded cabbage

  • mushrooms, (e.g. 苳菇)

  • base flavors:

    • seafood: dried shrimp, dried scallops, fresh clams

    • meat: sliced pork belly

    • This will depend on your taste preference and any individual ingredient here is optional. Feel free to add your desired combination of vegetables and meats.

  • broth or water

    • You can make the broth fresh from the ingredients above (e.g. by cooking your clams). The recipe below will use water, which will be less flavorful, but easier to do on a casual day.

Cooking Tools

  • large rounded wok 

  • gas or wood fire stove - the ideal stove will have very high heat and a wide flame, so that the flame can sufficiently heat the sides of the wok. If the wok doesn’t get hot enough, the batter won’t cook fast enough and run into the soup, making a gross soup paste.

Place the rice flour into a mixing bowl.

Add 1 cup of fresh water and stir the mixture until the rice flour is fully dissolved

For each of your solid ingredients, you’ll want to cook them separately and set aside. Stir fry the cabbage in cooking oil and set aside. If you have pork belly or other meats, now would be the time to stir-fry them and set aside.

Stir fry the mushrooms with a little cooking oil.

You can cook the mushrooms with the dried scallops and dried shrimp. Stir fry it quickly (15 seconds) to extract the flavors. 

Add a little water to the mixture and cover until the water reaches a boil. For more flavor here, you can use broth instead.

You can prepare the seafood while the water comes to a boil. If you have large clams or fresh fish, you can cut them into little pieces. Note that we'll be adding seafood absolutely last, as it cooks relatively quickly.

Once the water is boiling, use a piece of cooked cabbage to apply a thin layer of vegetable oil on the exposed wok above the water line of the soup.

Scoop a bowl full of the rice flour mixture

This is the hardest part —- along the side of the wok, just above the water line, pour a thin layer of rice flour mix. You want to do this in one fell swoop, circling the wok like below. I find it easiest to let the edge of the bowl skim the surface of the wok as you flick your wrist in a circle (as opposed to holding the bowl above the wok).

If the batter is too thin, it’ll burn easily. If it’s too thick, the batter will run into the soup, turning the soup into an undrinkable paste. This can take many many years of practice to get right, so don’t feel bad if it’s not perfect on your first try.

If the wok is hot enough, the noodle should cook instantly and brown. If it takes some time to cook (i.e. too thick), quickly cover the wok to try to get it to cook quicker before it runs into the soup.

Using a spatula, push the noodle into the soup.

Apply more oil on the wok and repeat until the soup is sufficiently dense with noodle. This is a really good pour!

If you have live seafood (e.g. clams and scallops), add them in last to avoid over-cooking.

You may not use all your batter in the first go around. If the soup becomes too full with noodles, empty the wok and start over with a new batch of soup.

Finally, add salt to taste and serve. Yum :-)

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Raymond Cheng at November 19, 2022 09:50 PM

November 16, 2022

I Like Turtles

TGIFunk

/2022/11/16/tgifunk.html

November 16, 2022 08:00 AM

November 14, 2022

Certainly Strange

GNOME onsie

I hope my friends’ baby likes gnomecore metal because I made them this

by Steen at November 14, 2022 06:18 AM

Claire Kao

eulogizing Twitter

Who knows what's going to happen to Twitter. But if it changes into something unrecognizable or goes kaputt entirely, I do want to honor how important it was to me for a ~10-year window of time, and take a snapshot of the public square as I loved it. To do this, I'm going to do what I do best, which is lurk, like, laugh, and learn, and then share onward the tweets that encapsulated things best: 

(ง'̀-'́)ง elno must 

https://twitter.com/BudrykZack/status/1588181194117910529?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/callmekitto/status/1589407148462964736?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/legaladvice_txt/status/1589444686347108353?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/Mik3Ferguson/status/1589454064739573760?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw


earnestly, what I loved about Twitter, described by people much better at words (& jokes)

https://twitter.com/AshleighWrites/status/1588626926746624001?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/_Zeets/status/1590853193604517888?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/mattxiv/status/1590829817041416192?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/alicegoldfuss/status/1590826847549673472?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/vv1lder/status/1590915327868948487?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw 
https://twitter.com/jdesmondharris/status/1591117525848588289?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/christapeterso/status/1591245088038223872?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/NovicSara/status/1591473587927629825?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw


But then, where to go??


https://twitter.com/e_alexjung/status/1585823705220915201?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw

https://twitter.com/kvanaren/status/1585657177607479296?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/punished3liza/status/1585988045551333376?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/gabalexa/status/1587665535977676800?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/annevclark/status/1588341163341357057?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/thebirdmaniac/status/1588387305605107712?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/blainecapatch/status/1588932525287960577?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/thisdiegolopez/status/1589823635862130689?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/ycsm1n/status/1589836372332146688?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/alex_abads/status/1590868560754212871?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw


a moment 

https://twitter.com/LouisPeitzman/status/1589288047824482310?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
https://twitter.com/desusnice/status/1590821970882568193?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw
 
----------
There's also been some hand-wringing about preservation (which I'm also trying to honor by making this post): 
image.png
https://twitter.com/RichyCraven/status/1588555585704071168?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw

And for that, some resourceful Tweeters have mentioned GoFullPage (built by MrColes and run by yours truly) for screenshotting everything you might want to hold onto: 
https://twitter.com/sharonluvisi/status/1590855376769257472?s=20&t=TMmSJX2eWJihE1UfEAY5Mw

I went ahead and screenshotted a big chunk of my likes; here's the extension rendering the screencapture. Pro-tip if you are wanting a way to save things:
GoFullPage Twitter Likes.png
all of my likes from October 20-November 11, which created a 136-page PDF 😎😵

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 14, 2022 05:11 AM

November 12, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Howdoi use howdoi in Emacs?

One of my favorite things about howdoi is the portability - meaning that you can get instant coding answers anywhere (not just on the command line). Contributors have created integrations for howdoi on Slack, Telegram, Discord, Visual Studio Code, and Alfred (just to name a few!). As an Emacs user, you can use the code snippet below to get instant answers inside Emacs.

(defun howdoi (start end command)
  (interactive
   (let ((command "xargs -0 howdoi"))
     (if (use-region-p)
         (list (region-beginning) (region-end) command)
       (list (line-beginning-position) (line-end-position) command))))
  (let ((response (shell-command-on-region-to-string start end command)))
    (kill-new response)
  (save-excursion
    (end-of-visual-line)
    (newline)
    (insert (shell-command-on-region-to-string start end command)))))

(defun shell-command-on-region-to-string (start end command)
  (with-output-to-string
    (shell-command-on-region start end command standard-output)))

Then, when you want to know how to # format a date in bash you can invoke M-x howdoi on that line and voila!

And yes, if you must, you can get howdoi integration for vim as well. 👀

November 12, 2022 06:03 PM

November 07, 2022

Claire Kao

30 favorite movie-music moments

In no particular order: 

1. Doing it to Death by The Kills > Titane

https://youtu.be/X-GkUA_Bzp0, screenshot from hulu

2. Dies Irae > The Shining

https://youtu.be/LjLip2FZLuA, screenshot from video; Dies Irae has been used countless times in media and this will always be the best, most spine-chilling use of all time 

3. Moonlight by John Williams > Sabrina 

https://youtu.be/NeHVtkX2PJI, screenshot from DVD; this song and scene perfectly encapsulate the feeling of watching a glamorous, beautiful life from the outside and wishing you could be a part of it (the YouTube video shows Sabrina getting that life later in the movie). 


4. Summer Kisses, Winter Tears by Elvis Presley > Until the End of the World

https://youtu.be/LcIiMlFgDc8, screenshot from video; no one captures the alienation and freedom of driving like Wim Wenders does. The version of this song on the official soundtrack is by Julee Cruise, but I believe the song in this scene is by Elvis.  
 

5. My Heart is in the Highlands by Arvo Part and Else Torp > The Great Beauty

https://youtu.be/PiolWBlf35M, screenshot from DVD; not only is every frame in this movie a painting, but every song choice in this movie is transcendent. 

6. Dreams by the Cranberries covered by Faye Wong > Chungking Express

https://youtu.be/H3VpC8x3wL8, screenshot from DVD; what a joyful, yet heart-rending scene of loving someone secretly and ardently from afar. This song is actually sung by the actress in the scene, Faye Wong, who was better known at the time as a canto-pop star.

7. Yumeji's Theme by Shigeru Umebayashi > In the Mood for Love 

https://youtu.be/ypY9OaKCfRU, screenshot from DVD; nothing will ever express loneliness better than this song combined with Maggie Cheung walking in slow-motion. 

8. Ich Ruf Zu Dir by Johann Sebastian Bach > Solaris 

https://youtu.be/Bel6g-OrtgE, screenshot from dvd; thirty seconds of weightlessness.

9. Jockey Full of Bourbon by Tom Waits > Down by Law 

https://youtu.be/IgMP9O-cIV8, screenshot from DVD

10. I'm Deranged by David Bowie > Lost Highway

screenshot from art of the title, which also has a great video embedded on the page; when I saw this movie several years ago, I went into this movie and am certain I came out a new, parallel self. The opening credits with this song were already the point of no return. 

11. All the World is Green by Tom Waits > The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

https://youtu.be/bUS6lbvFr-0, screenshot from IMDb; I don't remember this movie very much, but it did give me one of my favorite songs of all time, this one by Tom Waits.

12. Theme from The American Friend by Jurgen Knieper > The American Friend
image.png

https://youtu.be/lO27rZ_aZcE; screenshot from DVD. The theme from this movie repeats throughout, but it is at its best after an assassination. The melody is taken over by a sinister accordion as Bruno Ganz commits and runs away from the scene of the crime, in the Paris Metro.

13. Romance Anonimo by Narciso Yepes > Forbidden Games

https://youtu.be/lIy41Z2DCcc; screenshot from video

14. Cucurrucucu Paloma by Caetano Veloso > Talk to Her

https://youtu.be/-CsA1CcA4Z8, screenshot from Hulu

15. Werewolf by Cat Power > Broken Embraces

https://youtu.be/UD9Isy9aKUk, screenshot from Hulu. This music plays following a particularly painful moment in the movie, which we process as the camera pans the volcanic "geria" vineyards in Lanzarote. This combination of movie moment+music is seared into my psyche.
 

16. Modern Love by David Bowie > Mauvais Sang

https://vimeo.com/397129961, screenshot from video; my heart just absolutely soars watching and hearing this scene.

17. Love is Strange by Mickey & Sylvia > Badlands image.png

https://youtu.be/1gK2Y5H1jdU, screenshot from video

18. Le Temps de l'Amour by Francoise Hardy > Moonrise Kingdom image.png

https://youtu.be/riO_F5D1LBc, screenshot from video

19. Nightcall by Kavinsky > Drive

https://youtu.be/BHVbbcHWX4k, screenshot from video

20. Charade by Henry Mancini > Charade

https://youtu.be/e6obTyQcG64, screenshot from DVD

21. Suzanne by Leonard Cohen > Breaking the Waves

https://youtu.be/YmKgAcRe_t0, screenshot from HBO Max

22. This Must be the Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads > Wall Street image.png

https://youtu.be/Yr8mn7dmJ8E, screenshot from video

23. Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins > Top Gun image.png

https://youtu.be/EZfM2VMs_vI, screenshot from video; I may not agree with what's being propagandized here, but it's such a fricking slick, exciting, adrenaline-pumping song and scene

24. The main theme from The Conversation > The Conversation

https://youtu.be/x-_LxiRETWA, screenshot from video; if paranoia could be soothing, this song is what it would sound like. 

25. Générique by Miles Davis > Burning

https://youtu.be/57X3MgtTMfM, screenshot from Amazon Prime; watching this scene, you can literally feel the wind in your hair. 

26. Générique by Miles Davis > Elevator to the Gallows 

https://youtu.be/1OKQdp6iGUk, screenshot from HBO Max; same song, but its origin in what is also a very good scene. Miles Davis improvised this song, and the entire soundtrack, for Elevator to the Gallows.

27. Fight the Power by Public Enemy > Do the Right Thing 

https://youtu.be/739XYgoA-x8, screenshot from DVD; Rosie Perez dancing.

28. Dragula by Rob Zombie > The Matrix  

https://youtu.be/FGKcWsYahAg, screenshot from HBO Max

29. Sea of Love by Cat Power > Juno

https://youtu.be/a5uOTxG5N1M, screenshot from HBO Max

30. Moonfog by Jimmy Buffett > The Beach Bum 

https://youtu.be/_qQ-qIZ0g2Q; screenshot from HBO Max; before the Beach Bum came out, I don't think I would have believed you if you told me I'd one day really love a Jimmy Buffett song. But here it is in this freeing, give-no-shits movie. By the way, that's Snoop on the left, Matthew McConaughey in the middle, and Jimmy Buffett on the right.

some thoughts

This has turned out to be something of a catalog of my favorite music and film-makers: David Bowie, Cat Power, and Tom Waits each show up twice in this list, as do Almodovar, Wim Wenders, and Wong Kar Wai. (I also think Kubrick and Paolo Sorrentino are geniuses with how they used music in their films.) 
 
Also, I'm realizing now that a lot of these scenes are opening credits. We lose so much with the fact that Hollywood has largely moved the credits to the end of the movie. Sure, as I've shown here, we lose what can be an impactful setting of the mood but, most importantly, we lose an acknowledgment of the work and people that created the thing !

Hope you catch some of these movies and these tunes 🎵🎶

by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 07, 2022 02:29 PM

Certainly Strange

Bday Shirt

I’m out of control I’m embroidering everything now. I embroidered myself a bday shirt

by Steen at November 07, 2022 04:09 AM

November 05, 2022

I Like Turtles

Halloween

/2022/11/05/halloween.html

November 05, 2022 07:00 AM

November 01, 2022

Claire Kao

spook rock

3 or 4 Octobers ago,

I was at a midnight screening at Spectacle, where they were running through some very special, very campy, low production value horror movies. As we waited for the movie to begin, we realized the music playing was super spooky vibey, but also funky and fun. We asked for some of the songs from the guy manning the ticket sales, and it turned out he was just adding songs to a YouTube queue as the night went on. He gave us a few starter songs, and thus began our Spook Rock & More playlist.

Here were the starter songs:

And here are my faves/personal selections from the playlist. Because I’m a *Movie Gal*, a lot of them from movies:

From left to right, top to bottom: 
  1. From Cat People 
  2. This isn’t from a movie, but I discovered Jackson C. Frank from the movie Martha Marcy May Marlene. A movie I strongly dislike, but it did give me Jackson C. Frank…
  3. From my favorite, the Phantom of the Paradise
  4. From Clockwork Orange 🍼
  5. Also not from a movie, but Nick Cave will always be a movie-music man for me because of this scene from Wings of Desire 
  6. From Suspiria 

This year’s Halloween 




I 🧡🖤 Halloween

IMG_7123.jpg
From Dodie Bellamy’s The Letters of Mina Harker


by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at November 01, 2022 08:00 PM

October 31, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Turnip cake, 蘿蔔糕

According to special guest Mama Peng, when they were little, they ate turnip cakes during Lunar New Year because it meant a good start 「好菜/好彩頭」to the year.

 Ingredients

  • Daikon radish

  • dried mushrooms

  • Chinese sausage

  • dried shrimps

  • rice flour

  • dried red shallots

  • water

Slice and dice the radish, mushroom, dried shrimp, and sausage. The radish should be cut into thin little strips. It may be even easier to just use a box grater.

Heat up a wok on high heat with a little cooking oil. Start by stir-frying the sausage.


Then add the dried shrimp.


Then the mushrooms.


Lastly, add the radish.

After stir-frying it all together, turn the heat to low.
In a separate bowl, mix the rice flour with water.


 Pour the mix into the pot.


Add the dried red shallots.


Turn off the fire and stir together (~5 min.)


Find another container, line it with oil, and pour the mix into the containers.


Place the mix into a steamer.


Steam for ~30 min.


 w00t w00t.

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at October 31, 2022 02:22 PM

Certainly Strange

GNOME embroidery

the band GNOME doesn’t have any merch but we’re obsessed with them. So we’re making our own GNOME shirts!

by Steen at October 31, 2022 05:32 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

KBOO: All the news that’s fit to scream

October 31, 2022 04:15 AM

October 30, 2022

I Like Turtles

Manresa camping

/2022/10/30/manresa-camping.html

October 30, 2022 07:00 AM

October 26, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Pork buns, 豬肉包

Mama Liu says, "There's only water in the steamer! What happened to the buns??" Apparently, I forgot to put them in the steamer and only started the timer. This post features special guests Mama Peng and Papa Peng. 

For a more in-depth recipe that includes the dough-making process, see
https://fuzhoufood.blogspot.com/2016/11/buns-original-pork-scallion.html

Ingredients

  • cabbage

  • pork (self-grounded)

  • green scallions

  • flour

  • water

  • yeast

  • milk

  • salt

  • white pepper powder

  • white sesame oil

  • soy sauce

Clean and chop up the cabbage and green scallions.

Mix it with the ground meat. Add white sesame oil, salt, soy sauce, and white pepper powder.

Mix flour, water, yeast, and milk to make the dough. Cut up the dough and roll it out.

Scoop some meat into the wrapper and fold it into a bun. Here’s a finished folded product.

 Place them in the steamer.


Steam on high for ~ 13 min. w00t w00t.

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at October 26, 2022 02:00 PM

October 24, 2022

Certainly Strange

More patterns

I have to start working on more costume patterns. I keep doing this to myself. But I’m really dragging my feet this time.

by Steen at October 24, 2022 05:55 AM

Claire Kao

Kwee’s October in photos

Tehe

Life finds a way. The last photo: bags of dog poo accumulate on the windshield of this car as week(s) go by. The car doesn’t move from this spot despite weekly street cleaning, and even though poo bags accumulate, parking tickets do not. A mystery! I’m just happy to see dog poo conquering a car (it’s not Ziggy’s poo bags, our bags are green 💚)
I’ve started soaking chia seeds in a glass of water in the morning, and drinking at night. It’s too soon to tell any immediate health benefits, but it’s a ritual that gets me excited to drink water at night (always a struggle). It reminds me of the chewy, gummy things I grew up drinking like boba, grass jelly drink, aloe Vera, taro…

Finally made my way to Dia Beacon


My favorites of the day: Melvin Edwards & Charles Gaines 
New York, New York: city lights/tourist trap, floodlight light pollution (FYI, ”light pollution experts generally say there is no substantial evidence that more light amounts to greater safety”), signage for the city’s greatest parasites (real estate developers, in this case Vornado realty trust), and confusing as heck street parking signs. 

Spooky szn: Guess who ! 
🍂🍂🍂

A lil boy and his couch 
Remains of the day 
Tested negative multiple times for COVID and 2 strains of flu. Turns out the common cold still exists 

Idk what this show is called, it’ll just continue being Game of Thrones to me, but I do know I love it. Though I hope they stop developing character arcs with the use of graphic childbirths. Believe it or not, there can be other important experiences in a woman’s lifespan !! 
I’ll always be a 99 Ranch girlie at heart 🇹🇼, but I ♥️ H Mart 


by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at October 24, 2022 05:15 AM

October 23, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Rotary Phone Debut in Nashville

The rotary phones were a hit! Shout-out to V for help making the UX design smooth, and also finding an actual copy of The Mystery of Chimney Rock.

October 23, 2022 06:05 PM

I Like Turtles

Who's down with OCP?

/2022/10/23/whos-down-with-ocp.html

October 23, 2022 07:00 AM

October 19, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Steamed shrimp with bean vermicelli, 明蝦蒸冬粉

Reviving a guest post here from a good friend. Fuzhou Food thrives because of our community. If you have a post that you think would be a good fit for this blog, please contact us via Discord. We’d love to have you!

Ingredients

  • bean vermicelli

  • whole shrimp

  • diced garlic

  • soy sauce

  • chicken broth

  • green scallions

Soak the bean vermicelli in water (~ 20 min.) until it is soft. Then drain the water, place it in a bowl for steaming.

Clean the shrimp. Best practice is to cut open the shell and remove the gut.


Create the sauce by mixing soy sauce with chicken broth. 


Lay the shrimp on top of the bean vermicelli. Dice garlic and green scallion and place it on top of the shrimp. Then drizzle the sauce on top of the shrimp. 


Steam on high for about ~15 min. w00t w00t.

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at October 19, 2022 01:37 PM

October 17, 2022

Certainly Strange

Hakeev Lumberjack AU

Minecraft is what started this whole thing

by Steen at October 17, 2022 06:32 AM

Claire Kao

One year in this world

Ziggy at 1 year; Ziggy at just over 3 months 

The 1-year landmark

I genuinely believe, like most dog owners, that my dog is the cutest, best, most perfect dog in the world, but the truth is it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows living with and raising him. At the hardest moments, I've been reassured by other owners that it gets much better when the puppy turns one. And I think this is true! A quick accounting of things that used to be a problem, but have largely resolved due to training, intervention, or maturity (from most annoying to least): 
  • good night and good morning howl 
  • general barking, whining, SCREAMING (the boy has a distinctive, unique screech)
  • screaming fits when he doesn't get what he wants (like saying hi to another dog or person)
  • a crippling, desperate, noisy, destructive confinement anxiety 
  • licking himself into oblivion until his skin starts scabbing
  • vacuuming sidewalks, parks, our home; eating everything on the ground
  • pulling on his leash or plopping on the ground and refusing to move
  • scratching at the baseboards and walls
((See how much fun having a puppy is??))

He's been a tough little one, but he's also incredibly  
  • loving
  • bold
  • curious
  • playful
  • adventurous 
  • expressive
  • indomitable
  • creative
  • empathetic 
  • intelligent, almost witty 
and, as my friend Genesis put it, as all dogs are, actually very patient. Dogs rely on us for everything, and have no agency. We are their world, and they have needs that they, Ziggy included, are very patient to seeing met.

And through the tears and laughter of raising a difficult little puppy, Peter, Ziggy and I have bonded intensely. We have all worked so hard to communicate with one other—and I think this is truly where an unbounded loving and joy will continue to grow from.

I separately have a ton of thoughts on raising a baby living thing, and society's expectations on that process, and especially where this falls on women. I was criticized for not doing enough, for doing too much, for doing everything exactly right. There was no end to the critique, and it makes me wonder how mothers raising human babies do it (among the other burdens physical, emotional, and financial). But I note with gratitude the gently constructive (Genesis!), the quietly supportive (my Mama!), the sympathetically listening (Isabelle!), the enthusiastically loving (Jasmine!), the relentlessly encouraging (Kalvin!), the collectively struggling (Andrew & Brian!), and obviously my steadfast partner in all of this chaos, Peter...Ziggy truly seems to have required a little village.

And holy heck do I love our little buddy:

https://twitter.com/elykreimendahl/status/1569417325526253568?s=46&t=Q_SkCbDxJJYKOlh6-zjBlA


The joyous boy on his first birthday 


Bonus: the pekes that preceded Z

One of our neighbors emailed me yesterday saying P.G. Wodehouse was her favorite author growing up, and she thinks his favorite dog was a Pekingese. I looked it up, and lo and behold:
IMG_6770.PNG
https://twitter.com/dean_frey/status/1431061238847528964?s=21&t=B_tnjwh_NzaRdOhM4ooWyA

And it turns out Peter's family have had Pekingese in the past:
IMG_6771.PNG
Peter’s grandma with one of her Pekingese (either Feathers or Joey)


by Claire (claire.kao@hey.com) at October 17, 2022 04:23 AM

October 16, 2022

I Like Turtles

Behind

/2022/10/16/behind.html

October 16, 2022 07:00 AM